Girl in a Coma – Swoons and Shirts

It’s been a few days since I saw Girl in a Coma at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco but my head is still spinning from that crazy night. After getting out of my design class I raced to meet up with my homegirls Katynka and Robynn and we headed to Bottom of the Hill. This was my third time seeing Girl in a Coma and I was as starstruck as ever with being able to hang out with them after their show.

Um, *Swoon* Nina was super nice as always.

Jenn Alva continues to grow as an amazing artist. I already have a Girl in a Coma shirt designed by her but this one takes the cake. Jenn’s drawing of herself as a vampire, Phanie lifting off her own head, and Nina as their screaming victim made me smile from ear to ear. Katynka saved me by loaning me the $2.00 I needed to buy the shirt. Everyone in the band signed it for me and now I just have to find a way to frame it.

I was also super excited to run into Meligrosa and the Calitexican. I’ve followed their blogs and flickr pages for years and it was a thrill to experience the concert with them. These two awesome, energetic ladies made my night. We hopped up and down at the show like old friends. We have a purikura date planned for this weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing the results!

I was also a nerd and busted out my flip cam during the show and shot some video of Girl in a Coma doing their thing. Below are some highlights.

That’s it for now. I was so happy to see Girl in a Coma with old friends and new ones. The very first time I saw them was in 2008 at MACLA in San Jose. There were just a handful of people (including Guillermo Gomez-Pena) at that show so it felt good to finally see them play to sweaty throngs of people.

Peace,

Rio

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Brandon Walsh State of Mind

Every now and then I think that I’m living the life of Beverly Hills 90210’s Brandon Walsh. I always envied Brandon’s job at the Peach Pit where it seemed like every week a famous music act would show up and hold an impromptu concert. This past weekend I had another Brandon Walsh moment when Thao Nguyen and Mirah came to SomArts and held a small intimate concert kicking off their tour together.

Both Thao and Mirah were super nice and casually hung out at SomArts before and after the show. I was able to shoot a handful of photos of them as they walked around the building. Above are my two favorites.

I also shot a quick video of Thao and Mirah playing When We Swam, my favorite song by Thao. Watch as once again another Brandon Walsh moment unfolds for me at SomArts. Where is Nat and my Peach Pit Megaburger?

In a Brandon Walsh State of Mind,

Rio

My Life, My Swag

All day I’ve been pondering turning 30 in January. I wanted to take some sort of proactive action to put my mind at ease and today I finally locked in a date for my 30th birthday party at SOMArts. There are so many streams of thought still flowing through my mind but I am excited and inspired to celebrate 30 years of my life on this planet.

One of my inspirations and reasons that I am looking forward to turning 30 is my favorite Chicana artist Zulma Aguiar (AKA Chicana Feliz). Homegirl has brought Chican@ thought and art to Hawaii and is making headway for those of us still struggling to find our voice in the mainland. Yesterday was her 34th birthday and she’s shown me that my 30’s can be a time of travel, adventure, positive change, and making challenging art all the while feeling good and looking good. My utmost gratitude to her for showing me how it’s done right. Happy Birthday Zulma.

These days I’ve been steady rocking Swedish music makers jj and their song My Life, My Swag. It’s helped me, in my head, lay out the adventure that lies before me. The title makes it sounds like some sort of grimy hip-hop joint but it’s really a dreamy pop song in the vein of The Tough Alliance. I hope you can dig it.

My Life, My Swag by jj

Peace,

Rio

Automaton love, your caress is pneumatic

extremis05

Alright, time to score some nerd points on this throwback!

After writing recently about Emerald Transmission’s Witness I began to think about other obscure 90’s songs that I adore. One of my guiltiest pleasures was Extremis by Hal featuring Gillian Anderson. That’s right, Agent Scully cut a breathy electronica track in the mid-90’s. I was totally oblivious to this song when it first came out in ’96 because no local radio stations played it and I didn’t have cable (and thusly couldn’t watch when the video played for about a week on MTV). Word quickly spread through my high school’s nerd population about the Erotic-era Madonna inspired video that featured Gillian Anderson voyeuristically watching two gold-plated robots put the mack hand down.  Being totally obsessed with the X-Files and its minutiae, not to mention totally enamored of Scully, I had to see it.

I went to the now extinct Tower Records in the Castro and bought the “limited edition” package that included the CD single and a VHS tape of the music video. Even after purging my VHS collection a couple of years ago I still couldn’t bring myself to toss my Extremis tape. It’s an old sentimental favorite that I keep on my shelf of remaining VHS cassettes.

Without further ado here is the dated, sexy, and occasionally ridiculous video of Extremis.

The Truth is Out There,

Rio

Emerald Transmission – Witness

Photo 35Have you ever loved a song that was so obscure that you though you were the only one who has ever heard it and appreciated it?

The hidden gem that I’ve been passionate about since I first listened to it is Witness by Emerald Transmission. For more than a decade I thought I was the only person on the planet to have an appreciation for this song. That illusion was thankfully shattered when I came across this posting on The Color Awesome about Witness.

Emerald Transmission was a Berkeley group that consisted of producer Derek Gee and singer Dora Nicopoulos. They put out two albums although only the second one has Nicopoulos (who sang Witness). Their CDs are pretty rare, it took years of used music store and ebay scouring to get both albums.

I first heard Witness as a track on Live 105’s second Noisy Neighbors Compilation of local bands (this was 1995, circa pre-Clear Channel Live 105 and they were a lot more locally oriented). I instantly loved it. I was 15 at the time and it just seemed so epic and perfectly tuned to my sentimental state of mind. I had a nightly ritual before sleep where I would listen to albums on my Discman (remember those?) as I lied in bed & read comics and the song was often placed on infinite loop.

I put the song on every high school mixtape I made and carried the Noisy Neighbors CD with me anytime I went out with my Discman. It wasn’t until my first year of college that I actually found a used copy of Emerald Transmission’s 1994 album Neptune (used at the now vanished Warehouse on Van Ness). I really liked the whole album but Witness was still my favorite. When Mariela and I first started dating I bought another copy of Neptune and gave it to her as a gift. Even though it wasn’t her musical taste she always humored me whenever I wanted to put it on. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I scored their first album on ebay. I was disappointed with the production and the fact that it featured another singer that wasn’t as good.

Photo 37

I’m in disbelief that this song is over 15 years old. Was 1994 really that long ago? Fuuuuuuuck! I still love Witness with every bone in my body to this very day. If I could ever attribute its influence on another song I would definitely say Swimming Pool by Freezepop. I have no idea where Emerald Transmission, Derek Gee, and Dora Nicopoulos or what they are up to these days but they’ll always have a kid in the Mission District keeping the flame alive.

Here is the song, courtesy of The Color Awesome.

Witness by Emerald Tranmission

Peace,

Rio

Sometimes Dreams Come True

It’s 4:15 am and I’m still recovering from what was the best day of work at SOMArts EVER. Having your favorite band appear and perform at your job is usually a contrived plot device for sitcoms and teen soap operas but sho’ nuff, Girl in a Coma rocked SOMArts tonight. I’m still trying to process everything but it was an unbelievable night of magic.

Girl in a Coma performed as part of Homo A Go Go, a festival or Queer music, art, and performances. My homegirl Shizu Saldamando came into town to check out the festival and see the band perform. Shizu has been in both exhibits that I’ve curated at SOMArts and she’s also the artist of Girl in a Coma’s most recent album cover.

Today, I wore both GIAC shirts that I have. I surprised Shizu with my shirt featuring her artwork and we had to take a photo together.

When the band took the stage at SOMArts, Mariela and I were pressed against the stage and ready to take it all in. The energy of the crowd surged as they came on and they put on a show that I’ll never forget. My favorite song of the night that they played was El Monte. I was hella cupcakin’ during that one with Mariela. I was able to get them playing Vino with my mino below.

Brandon Walsh and the cast of 90210 had Color Me Badd at the Peach Pit, I got Girl in a Coma at SOMArts.

Sometimes dreams really do come true.

Peace,

Rio

Ps. Shouts to Devon Devine and BrownDownCrown. Devon has been fun to work & chat with at SOMArts alongside the great Homo a Go Go crew.